October 25, 2002

Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year?

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The NCAA first-round game between Maryland-Cornell had just ended with the Red winning 14-4 over the seven-time national champion Terps. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86, followed by goalie Carrie Giancola ’02 and Lori Wohlschlegel ’02 skipped into the tape room underneath the lacrosse office to speak to the media.

“And Jamie Reynolds will come in shortly. She’s just finishing her ham sandwich,” it was announced.

Graap, Giancola, and Wohlschlegel chirped about the tournament win, about the next game, about the record-breaking season before the soft-spoken Reynolds ’02 demurely snuck through the door and took the seat next to Wohlschlegel.

A reporter asked: “Jamie, how does it feel to break the single season and career scoring records?”

Reynolds, who scored seven goals and assisted twice in the game, shot a look at the reporter, asking, “I did?”

She was then bombarded with questions about her play in the game, her numerous record-setting performances, and her place within the women’s lacrosse program’s history. Her teammates kept goading her on, nudging her arm or shooting her those “You go girl” looks. Meanwhile, Reynolds kept spouting those perfectly phrased, pro-team sentiments sincerely, blushing only slightly from the extra attention she received.

On the shelf outside of the little windowless room lay the ham sandwich Reynolds had abandoned earlier. Once the media left, she picked it up and marched back upstairs, where the rest of the team was celebrating.

Perhaps Reynolds has just been tempered by receiving so many awards throughout her entire life. After all, before reaching Cornell, she was the Baltimore Sun’s Athlete of the Year. Then she proceeded to become a four-time All-Ivy, North Region All-American, and All-American player. Last year, she capped off a dream career by becoming the Ivy League Athlete of the Year and earning a trip to the NCAA semifinals. Her name appeared on about every award she could qualify for.

Yet the tall, quiet Reynolds would never lose her composure. She would neither taunt nor deride the opposition. She didn’t have a victory dance or a sharpie pen in her sock. She let her athleticism speak for her, and it spoke miles.

Perhaps her modesty was one of the keys to her success. But there must have been more to someone who turned everything she touched gold.

She was by no means an offensive player even though she holds practically all of Cornell’s scoring records. Reynolds was the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week four times; she was only the Offensive Player of the Week twice. So would it be appropriate to call her the Michael Jordan of women’s lacrosse?

Some athletes clearly end their sports careers after they graduate, but things keep cropping up for Reynolds after her undergraduate career. She has been named the NCAA New York State Woman of the Year, and more recently, one of 10 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year. Reynolds will be at the awards banquet on Nov. 2 when the award’s recipient is announced — that is if she isn’t busy doing her Ph.D. work at University of Rochester in the biological engineering department. Did I forget to mention that Reynolds had close to a 4.0 while being a two-varsity athlete and leading member of Quill and Dagger and Red Key Society. Oh yeah, she was also on the volleyball team.

Reynolds was the model student-athlete while on East Hill although she’d be the last person to say that.

However, hopefully for her sake, she will indulge in a little self-congratulating if her name happens to be called on Nov. 2. If told that she is the new NCAA Woman of the Year, “I did?” doesn’t quite give her the credit she deserves.

Archived article by Amanda Angel